cover image Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation

Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation

Michael Pollan, read by the author. Penguin Audio, unabridged, 11 CDs, 13.5 hrs., $39.95 ISBN 978-1-61176-143-6

Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma) narrates his latest, which explores the transformative cooking power of four vital elements: fire, water, air, and earth. Pollan's reading has an easygoing, next-door-neighbor tone that works to distance him from the "foodie" label that inevitably attaches itself to his name. While Pollan certainly tackles the heavy-duty science portions of his narrative smoothly, he's at his best when portraying the book's sometimes-colorful cast of characters. The most memorable of these figures include a barbecue pit master with a checkered business record and a deep attachment to the whole-hog slow cooking and a California hipster/baker. Pollan also ably portrays the role of his wife and teenage son in his culinary journey, making a case for the role of food in building family connections. A Penguin hardcover. (Apr.)